Lomotif is entering the Indian market at the right time: Paul Yang

Lomotif Founder & CEO Paul Yang spelled out investment plans, short-term and long-term targets and the platform's strategy for the Indian market

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Jun 8, 2021 8:19 AM
Paul Yang

Founded by Paul Yang in 2014, Singapore-based Lomotif enables users to create, share, and watch short music videos with friends and has the patented technology for mixing and video editing. The app boasts of having over 225 million installations in 200+ countries in 300+ languages. Lomotif has soft-launched in India and is available on Google Play Store as well as App Store. In an interaction with exchange4media, Lomotif Founder & CEO Paul Yang spelled out the platform's strategy for the Indian market.

Excerpts:

When do you plan to launch Lomotif in India?

While we are already available on the Google and Apple stores for India, we plan to soft launch and experiment in the market with unique participative competitions. We recently successfully culminated the 1st edition of the ‘DanceOff Challenge’ in India, where we roped in ace choreographer, actor, and director Remo D’Souza as the face of the campaign. With this campaign, we saw a jump of over a 1000% increase in content creators on the platform and a 1500+% increase in total video views. Our current campaign, #DanceRemix, presents dancers across the country with a chance to remix their videos and dance alongside their favourite celebrities where they shall be performing a series of popular hook steps. The upcoming offering sees talented choreographer Shakti Mohan as the face of this campaign who will be mentoring and motivating the participants.

In addition, we also have team members working on the localization of music and content as well as its curation specific/tailor-made to Indian audiences.
 
What potential do you see in the short-video market in India?

It’s exciting to see the short video market develop well in India. The ecosystem will ensure that short video becomes the format of choice for most Indians, for entertainment and engagement, especially Gen Z, who seem to be highly immersed in the format. As per a recent report ‘Playing by New Rules – India’s Media & Entertainment Sector Reboots in 2020’ by E&Y, the user base on short format video platform apps has grown by 65% year-on-year in the last two years and it is estimated that over 50,000 creators, with a following of over 100,000 each on short video platforms, are massively democratizing the creation of content. What will help sustain this growth will be the investment in creator tools to ensure that the user-to-creator ratios are high and that they are excited and enthused consistently with novel ways of expressing themselves.

How significant is the Indian market for Lomotif? Do you feel you are a bit late in entering the Indian market?

No, we don’t think that we are late in entering the Indian market. In fact, we believe that this is the right time to enter the Indian market and share the space with other industry players.  The short video space is ever-evolving and growing at an incredible rate. The increase in demand for online content viewing, the potential it offers, and the increasing popularity amongst GenZ audiences and millennials in the country have played an instrumental role in driving forward growth and taking the sector to further heights. The industry is huge and players with unique and practically useful feature sets will stand the test of time.

Lomotif, as a platform, will provide global access to Indian content creators. Along with exposure to international trends, Lomotif’s patent technology and the “multi-clip” algorithm available on the application, will allow them to create reel-like videos to better attract and engage with newer and larger audiences.  We also expect social commerce to grow exponentially, and we will also consider a bunch of revenue streams for Lomotif and the creators - like pay-walled content and also partnering with corporate players in India for direct advertisements as well as letting them engage more easily with the creators on the platform.
What are your investment plans for the Indian market?

We are going pretty aggressively, with respect to the Indian market. Along with investing a substantial amount of funds, we have already made some senior-level acquisitions that we will be announcing soon. In addition to that, our teams are also working on the localisation of music and content, as well as their curation with creators and influencers from different streams.

 
TikTok was synonymous with the Indian short-video market. Following the TikTok ban, local players have filled in the gap. Who among the current crop of short-video apps do you see as your competitors and how do you plan to overcome competition?

At Lomotif, we believe that anyone can be a creator. We aim to build a comprehensive platform that empowers them to tell their stories by consistently developing innovative creator tools that delight them as well. The prevalence of social media has subconsciously led to the need to be extraordinary, unique or different, reinforcing the idea that individuals are not good enough just being themselves. This is what we are changing through Lomotif. Where there is pressure to always be interesting or perfect on other platforms, Lomotif encourages creators to be their truest selves. To celebrate not just the big moments of life, but also the journey, the imperfections, and even the inevitable mundanity. We believe in building a home for creators where they can express themselves freely, to encourage a sense of realness and a spirit of collaboration and community that we need and long for in these troubled times.

Our direct competitors in India would be Josh, Moj, MX TakaTak. Our focus will lie in connecting creators and fans worldwide, allowing them to foster global partnerships. Indian creators can showcase their talent to a global audience and be discovered worldwide on Lomotif. We plan to support aspiring talent through international events, challenges, and exposure. The challenges we run are not just for entertainment. We strongly believe in growing the community from the ground up, giving chances and equal opportunity to everyone in a local and global playing field. We have started to initiate challenges with the dance community in India and up next, we have Scouted by Lomo to uplift and provide opportunities to budding musicians.

Looking at current players in the Indian short-video maker, what, according to you, makes Lomotif different from its competitors?

Lomotif has a clear vision for growth and we work with the primary goal of making content creation as simple as possible. The idea is to create an environment where creators can express themselves and are free to create as they see fit. It leads to a sense of realness and encourages the spirit of collaboration and community. We are also motivated to invest resources to make the platform even more beneficial for creators to create diversified and unique content.
Even internationally, we are making our presence felt more strongly. Being big fans of live streaming experiences, we joined hands with LiveXLive’s Annual Global Music Festival – Music Lives 2021 and live-streamed the massive three-day lineup of non-stop, power-packed, live performances by global icons like Pitbull, John Mayer, Wiz Khalifa, and Zac Brown Band amongst many others. Marking a first, the event also saw viewers experience the festival in a vertical-only format.

 
How do you plan to build the platform in India in terms of content strategy, building a creator economy, and so on?

As the year of digital disruption, 2020 has seen plenty of new faces take over the screens. Creators are the new currency and the way they are creating diversified content on social media is changing the entire structure of the digital ecosystem.

As digital influencers keep gaining in popularity, brands have also started trusting these emerging micro-celebrities and are increasingly turning to short format video platforms and their star content creators for their brand promotions online. From our standpoint, the creator economy is well and truly underway. We plan to build a digital ecosystem that will gather incredibly talented and creative people on a single integrated platform, this was something we could not have really imagined before.

Not only this, the population in tier-2 and tier-3 cities too have started understanding the power of video marketing and how millions of views on just even one video can make a person a 'Digital Star' overnight.  The exponential rise in smartphones and internet penetration, especially in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India are enabling people across generations to create and consume new and engaging content.  Witnessing this trend, we are also planning to enter and focus on this regional market for our growth and development.

We have started tapping the creator community and providing them a platform to get on the path of stardom by launching the #Danceoff Challenge’, where one of India’s most famous choreographers, actors, and directors – Mr. Remo D'Souza was the face of the challenge. And winners from Indore and Surat won the challenge along with cash prizes. Our upcoming challenge #Danceremix will provide a platform to creators to match hook steps with their favorite stars and we have roped in the talented and gorgeous Shakti Mohan to mentor the participants.
 
Within India, which are the key geographies/languages that you are looking at?

We intend to serve audiences of all age groups. That said, our immediate focus is to capture audiences across the Hindi-speaking belt and North East markets. Add to that, with a lot of untapped potential in Tier 2 and 3 cities, we are keen to penetrate the regional markets as well.  

What are your short-term and long-term targets for the Indian market?

Lomotif’s biggest strength comes from its creator-focused tools, patented technology, and IPs. Internationally, creators of all hues — right from nano creators to top celebrities — have used Lomotif to share their unique stories in interesting and distinct ways.

We have been fortunate enough that our features and tools were appreciated so highly, leading to organic growth and increased reach, without spending any money on customer acquisition. Within India, so far we have had musicians like Arjun Kanungo releasing their cover albums through the platform, icons like Remo D’Souza and Shakti Mohan associating with us and engaging with our audiences. And we only expect such celeb associations to increase as we attract more of them onto the platform with its undeniably versatile portfolio of creation-focused technology that is compatible with the widest range of platforms possible.

Going forward, we will amp up our catalogue of events and challenges to serve diverse creator communities. We seek to launch a creator program tailored to the Indian community. It will allow our users to experiment and explore their talent and form of expression. In addition, we are also fostering integrated partnerships that will provide users with more relevant and engaging content and more meaningful interactions on the platform.

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